A longtime Upper Arlington dentist who is active in a regional dental association and who provides free services to the homeless has been recognized for outstanding achievement by the International College of Dentists.
Dr. Timothy O. March, who for more than 20 years has maintained March Dentistry, a family dental practice at 1580 Fishinger Road in Upper Arlington, has been accepted for the ICD's Fellowship Award.
The ICD, the world's oldest and largest international honorary dental organization, annually presents its Fellowship Award to dentists from around the globe for "outstanding professional achievement, meritorious service and dedication to the continued progress of dentistry for the benefit of humankind."
The award is given by invitation only after candidates' qualifications and achievements are evaluated by a series of credential committees.
According to an ICD representative, approximately 250 U.S. dentists receive the award each year. Last year, nine were granted to dentists in Ohio.
March, 54, will receive the award Nov. 1 at the organization's 84th annual convocation in New Orleans.
"It's like a culmination of a lot of hard work and putting the right things together along the way," said March, who has lived in Upper Arlington since he was in sixth grade. "It's nice to be recognized."
March, a licensed dentist since 1985, said his practice's motto is "State of the Art Dentistry with a Personal Touch," and he credited his efforts to fulfill that credo with helping him earn an ICD Fellowship Award.
Roughly seven years ago, he said, he put renewed emphasis on improving his practice by establishing implant and anesthesia residencies at his office.
He also became more actively involved in the Columbus Dental Society, and his push to promote better communications between dentists and the public prompted him to spearhead a project to upgrade the organization's website.
He currently is vice president of the Columbus Dental Society. In 2011, he was voted "Best Dentist in Columbus" by Columbus Monthly.
Additionally, March said he has stepped up his service to the community in recent years by providing free dental services each month to Faith Mission, a 24-hour emergency shelter for the homeless in downtown Columbus. He makes dentures for those who stay at or receive meals from the shelter, in addition to performing exams and providing extractions and other dental services.
"I'm kind of a guy who says, 'Why not me? Go in and help,'" March said. "Part of what Faith Mission does is get these people off drugs and alcohol or get them other things they need to get them in meaningful work.
"I kind of like that idea. It's giving people a hand up instead of a hand out."
While some of the roughly 160 men and 80 women at the shelter have addiction issues, some have mental illnesses and many have simply fallen on hard times after losing their jobs, March said.
He said basic dental care can make a significant difference in a person's confidence and provide them comfort so they can focus on rebuilding their lives.
"When you're in constant pain like that, it's hard to think straight," he said.
Further, March said he provides such services to fill a gap. Over the years, he noted, many hospitals have eliminated positions for oral services.
"Around 40 percent of all visits to the emergency room are dental-related," he said. "We're trying to give back to the community and help relieve hospitals."
To receive an ICD Fellowship Award, dentists must have a minimum of five years in clinical practice, teaching, research or government service and be at least 30 years old with a degree from a dental school recognized by the ICD.
Candidates must also be recognized as an active contributor to his or her profession and community and acceptable to the board of regents or governing body of his or her state.
In addition to helping others, March said he particularly enjoys the challenges of providing quality oral health care and the "art" of dentistry.
"I just always liked working with people one-on-one," he said. "It's an art and a science. You have to know what you're doing, but you also want to make it look good."